Following an extensive beta test with distributors, Fox News and Fox Business Network are scheduled to officially enter the TV Everywhere world on Sept. 8.
Showcasing simulcasts of the linear networks, the bows of FoxNewsGO and FoxBusinessGO, will be accompanied by their own set of advertisers via the digital ad insertion process.
Authenticated video subscribers of the cable news category leader and its flanking business will be able to live-stream the platforms through desktop landing pages available at FOXNewsGO.com and FOXBusinessGO.com (the latter defaults to the former). The Fox News app is available on iOS and Android-driven devices, while the FBN app is currently available on iOS with plans to launch later on Android. FoxBusinessGO can also be accessed through the FNC app. As such, verified users can access live streams of the networks from their websites, as well as computers, laptops, cellphones and devices
With the mobile bows of the news and business network, 21st Century Fox continues to broaden its TVE portfolio, as Fox Sports Go live-streams games and will begin proffering content from a dedicated Big East digital network on Sept. 25, and FXNow, which has been showcasing The Simpsons, the classic animated series that is now syndicated on FXX.
Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution of FNC and FBN, said the mobile versions have been in beta testing over the past nine months, as Fox worked out kinks and ensured they would be available to much of the pay-tv universe.
“This gives viewers access to our networks, whenever and wherever they are,” he said.
Carry said FoxNewsGo will be available to 70 million homes through deals with 220 affiliates, including industry-leaders Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. The tally is somewhat less for FoxBusiness Go, he said.
Dish Network is the major holdout at this point. “It’s an ongoing process,” he said, expressing confidence the services soon will be accessible to subscribers of the No. 2 DBS provider.
Asked if distributors had to pay additional subscriber fees to offer the mobile services, Carry replied: “It’s part of the value of Fox News.”
With the rollouts, Carry said users will also have the capability to launch players presenting “pool feeds and clips.” Down the road, the programmer may add complementary text and data to the video components.
Fox officials have been encouraged by usage during the beta period. Carry said FoxNewsGO averaged 1 million unique users per month, with the average sessions lasting 45 minutes. That’s a total that dwarfs other services. “Other network platforms last six minutes or so,” he said. “They want to watch Fox News.”
Most were watching on their desktops, which drew the highest percentage of any device. “That didn’t surprise us. It means a lot of people are watching at work,” said Carry.
The services sport a button that reduces the simulcasts to one-quarter size or less, enabling users to keep the products open while they attend to business.
Carry said testing occurred across a wide swath of distributors and platforms. “The technical ops at the cable providers were very gracious and helped us get the bugs out,” he said. “We wanted to make sure the sign-up process is simple and the products worked well to give viewers the feel and experience of the networks.”
He also said the company was driven to have a significant mobile footprint in play before the official rollouts: “We held back. We didn’t want to whet consumer appetite and then not have [the services] widely available.
Beginning on Sept. 8, on-air promotion will aim to push viewers to sign-up page. Several weeks out, more pointed messaging will begin, with FoxNewsGo positioned as a vehicle that will help keep users abreast of developments with the mid-term election cycle.
During beta, users saw slates during the commercial breaks. Through dynamic ad insertion both services will feature different sponsors than on the linear networks, opening up new revenue streams.
“We are dynamically inserting ads into the product during commercial breaks on an impression basis,” said Zach Friedman, vice president of digital ad sales, Fox News and Fox Business. “This allows our clients to deliver video campaigns with us across regular VOD clips and also within this live format which will help them reach our audience no matter where they're consuming content.”
Friedman noted that clients can specifically purchase Go or simply rotate it “within all of our video products together.”
At presstime, participating clients declined to reveal their identities ahead of the mobile services’ launch.
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